Sunday, October 12, 2014

I am your slave... and you are my parasite

A poem I wrote recently... hope it puts a smile on your face!

I am your slave... and you are my parasite

The most beautiful parasite I ever did meet
who knew a parasite could be so sweet
I am your arms, I am your legs
I am your food when your suckling mouth begs
I knew I wanted you right from the start
but holy shit this small bundle can fart!

Who ever knew such a tiny boy 
Could at times my mind near destroy
When I put you down for a sleep
I hope and pray you dont make a peep
Please give me a moment for my thoughts to collect
so when your cries return my soothe has effect

No book or website or words of advice
could have EVER prepared me for such a needy device
So would I ever give you back?
change my life and choose a different track
a quiet clean house and leisurely strolls in the park
sleep-ins till noon and drinks out after dark
a life where my wants could be followed at a whim
seems too empty now without him...

When your cries reach a certain decible
I want to shout, I want to yell
I want to get down on the floor
and roll around and thrash some more
I want to be a big baby too
I want somebody else to clean up that poo
Please please would you stop that awful racket
for a good nights sleep I would pay a packet

Sometimes at night I must admit
I think my brain STOPS..... just for a bit
I may find myself staring at the wall
Thinking of absolutely nothing at all
and on those nights (where lack of sleep makes me lose perspective)
I wonder why, we didn’t use a better contraceptive?

But then you go and do something brand new
a smile, a giggle, a roll or two
and in that moment my earths obit slows
and inside my chest a piece of my heart grows
I am linked to you intrinsically 
and forever your mother I will be 

Yes I am your slave and you my parasite
But by gosh I love you with all of my might

Monday, August 4, 2014

8.55AM and I am eating a big creamy bowl of carbonara!

Let me paint the scene, It is 8.55am on a wintery monday morning and although the winters sun is beaming down thawing thru the ice outside, I have the curtains drawn. I am sitting in bed, with the doona pulled up, eating a huge bowl of reheated carbonara pasta left over from last nights dinner. Yep, creamy, bacony, pastary goodness at 8.55AM ON A MONDAY MORNING!

When you are awake at 3am breast feeding and then UP from 5.30am feeding, playing, singing, nappy changing, feeding, rocking... then 8.55am doesn't seem quite so unreasonable to eat very creamy, carby, carbonara... does it??

My house is a disaster zone. My baby cannot even crawl yet and somehow there are toys, books and food strewn from one end of the house to the other.

Only two weeks ago I thought I was super mum. I went to the gym three times in one week (yes my gym has a creche, LIFE SAVER!). Just those few hours of time out for myself with some physical and mental space to breathe I started to feel semi normal.

Then the very next week everything fell apart as my little boy was sick for the first time (ironically possibly picked up from the "life saver" gym creche). My sweet little poo bag even so kindly decided to share his sickness with my husband and myself. Don't get me wrong, I am so very proud he is sharing (even at such a young age, what a good boy...) but I could have done without that cold.

Just for the record, SICK BABIES SUCK!
YEP, Dealing with a sick baby is CRAPEDDY, CRAPSTICKS!
It was one lonnnnnnng week of baby Panadol, vaporisers, long nights, screaming, red cheecks, snotty noses and a lot of rocking back in forth hugging for hours on end, consoling a very confused little person.

So after 1 SUPER DUPER WEEK, followed by 1 SUPER SHIT WEEK, I am starting off this one with 1 SUPER LARGE BOWL OF CREAMY PASTA.....week?! I think that means I have given in. Not given up. Just given in, to roll with the punches this week. So instead of being super organised like I usually try to be, I might just try to be. Messy house, afternoon sleeps, daytime tv, perhaps a lay on the deck rugged up in blankets in the winters sun.

My usual way of coping with the world is most definitely NOT just letting things be. I am a woman of many LISTS, PROJECTS, DREAMS, ASPIRATIONS, GOALS... MORE PROJECTS. So for me "letting things be" is quite challenging (scary, a little "out of control"). Its like being drunk without the wine (and the cover of nightfall). So here I am throwing caution to the wind and lists out the window, I am leaving the piles of washing, toys, dishes where they are... on the floor, in an attempt to "let go" (even if its just for a week).  CLEANINGS FOR LOSERS! (HMMM OR FOR PEOPLE WITH CLEAN HOUSES.....HMMMMMM).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

war on terror

How are all the other mothers coping? How are women not just having complete tantrum, screaming, moany meltdowns in the street (on every street... all over the globe). I only have one baby to keep alive and sometimes I feel emotionally raped and starved of solitude.

It occurred to me that a lot of my time is now spent indoors, so perhaps the mummy meltdowns are happening behind each of the closed doors (on every street... all over the globe) and hence why I am not "seeing" the proof.

When I think of the words "War on Terror", I am not thinking about an awful war in the middle east, where trumped up charges of "weapons of mass destruction" allowed America to invade, dominate and dig up oil. Nope, I am thinking of babies. There are small war's going on all over the world, war's behind closed doors, wars with "weapons of mass defecation".

I used to think that old people were soooo annoying (well actually I still do) with their forgetfulness and clumsiness. Repeating stories, farting and burping at any given moment (in public or at the dinner table). Walking slowly, Drive slowly... repeating stories... not listening to the conversation at hand. Being selfishly consumed entirely by their own small world... repeating stories...

AND NOW I KNOW WHY! I can see the writing on the dam wall! I am slowly, but surely, being worn down, I am becoming that crazy old ANNOYING person! and I blame BIG BABY!
You gorgeous, smiley, soft, round, cuddly, life drainer. You are making me old and saggy and forgetful and clumsy. I repeat stories, fart and burp at any given moment. Walk slowly, Drive slowly... repeat stories... and find it Insanely hard to follow the conversation at hand. I am selfishly consumed entirely by my own small world... and often repeat stories...

For example; PET HATE- People who drive around with their indicators still on when clearly they are no longer turning or changing lanes but their car has failed to click the indicator off. Pre-baby I was all "what the HELL are you doing! can't you hear the annoying TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK of the indicator telling you that it is STILL ON!!! BEEP BEEP! GET OFF THE ROAD YOU OLD FART!"
and yesterday.... I was that old fart. I was on my way to the gym (which has a creche, thank the sweet lord) all of my energy and will power had been used up by getting my small needy child fed, dressed, packed and out the door before 10am, that I barely had the brain function to focus on the road. After about 8 minutes of driving down a straight highway I realised my indicator was on. Suddenly my brain chugged over a gear to tell me "HAY! YOU-WHO! That TICK-TOCKING is not actually your brain trying to think, ITS YOUR CAR INDICATOR!"

I turned it off, checking my side mirrors for other (younger, child-free, brain using drivers) and then quickly forgot that train of thought as my baby sang out from the back seat. Yep, I blame you baby! One day I am going to be old and annoying too and I blame you.

Disabled Disabled Disabled

A few weeks ago I was saying to my husband that caring for a baby made me feel like I was living life whilst hopping around on one leg with my arms tied behind my back. I felt disabled. That was Until.... I fell over and sprained my ankle and was on crutches, which meant I was then disabled, disabled. Next, I got bronchitis,,, and I was disabled, disabled, disabled.

After a rough few weeks of injuries, complaining, coughing, frustration, limping and a big fat dark cloud of depression... I am almost back to one disability (being a mum). I never in a million years thought having a baby would be this hard. When I voiced this to my husband he said "really? I did"...
(and I thought to myself "you did? I can't believe you agreed to having one!!!").

What If I was actually a disabled mum? How are single parents doing this gig? I really don't know what I expected... But it wasn't this. I thought there'd be more time to do ummmm ANYTHING? Cook dinner, clean the house, meet a friend for a latte, make craft, do paperwork (have a shower, go to the toilet, feed myself).

These few super tough weeks gave me some time to reflect on mum's thru the ages and made me contemplate in wonderment how the human race even exists at all. How did mum's living in "caveman days" deal with babies teething before baby Panadol (and Sophie the overpriced chewable BPA free plastic giraffe)? What did tribes do for nappies? (just hold their baby outside the tent?). My little man often likes to do his number 2's whilst I am feeding him, so If I was a tribe woman feeding my baby with no nappy on I would just be covered in shit. What about post birth infections? tearing of the perineum with no stitches?... I am guessing that is why many woman died in childbirth (or post childbirth from infection).

I take for granted my washing machine, dryer, dish washer, steriliser, microwave, kettle, toaster, mobile phone, car, DISPOSABLE NAPPIES! and yet I am still complaining about how hard it is!! 

My mum pointed out that although these mod cons help us to speed up our daily chores that tribal life had the advantage of "many hands making light work". In tribal times the babies could be past around to a variety of mum's, sister's and aunties for rocking, sshhhing and entertainment. Where as nowadays in our western society often we are holed up in our individual houses trying to tackle each individual task on our lonesome. 

I can't help feeling like there is a better way, like we have missed something? It sure is a giant leap from tribal child rearing to lone western mothering... surely there is a better middle ground.

Friday, May 2, 2014

pieces of the goddam puzzle

When women used to say to me "You really can't understand what it is like to have a baby until you have one of your own" I used to think "Riiiiigggghhhhttt!" and walk away thinking "how goddam condescending! I have a pretty vivid imagination I'll have you know! Yeah I know its not going to be a sweet walk in the park, but I think I have a fairly good idea what it will be like. I am tough! I did super well in school and uni, I am successful in my career, Ive got this covered Girlfrienzzz!" 

It was like these women thought they had joined what I like to call the "Triple S Club"..........................
the "Smug with Spawn Sorority" and the ONLY way to join was to have one of your own (Ive heard of harsh initiation ceremonies for joining sororities... but pushing a watermelon out of your Clakka has got to rate in the top 3... surely).
But Alas, I hate to admit it... but I was wrong! (and I HATE, HATE, HATE! BEING WRONG!). The rumours are true... I have now joined the "Smug with Spawn Sorority".
I am truly sorry "non breeders" but you REALLY can't understand until you have had one of your own. Looking after a newborn baby around the clock is a SUPER TOUGH GIG! The actual "Job" of feeding, hugging, rocking, kissing, singing, changing nappies, is not "hard" Per se. Anyone can do it in small doses, and perhaps if you had a lot of help, or a nanny, or a large extended family living around the block it wouldn't be as tough. But it is the constant day in-day out, physical and mental taxing which takes a near super human feat.

So why does nobody ever REALLY tell you what it is going to be like?... are they all Evil narcissists just encouraging you to join the "Triple S" with the lure of super cute designer babies clothes and newly decorated nurseries, for you only to be sucked in like a fly into a Venus Fly Trap, slowly being enticed by the bright colours and then snapped into nature's jaws!

Well personally Ive never liked rules! So I am going to let you in on the "Triple S Club's"
BIG SECRET! of why nobody ever REALLY tells you what its like.....are you ready for it? .............
It all comes down to one word...
The reason why nobody tells you what it is really like to have a baby...........
Its called SURVIVAL!
Yes folks, new parents are too busy SURVIVING to have the time to tell all the "non breeders" what its really like. So why don't they tell you once the child is older? Well remember our good "ol" friend "Amnesia" who helped us to black out the agony of childbirth?? I am pretty sure he also comes along and takes all the blurred sleepless nights, days of throbbing breasts and sore nipples, a whole month of bleeding and the tears of exhaustion... locks them in a vault, buries them under a volcano and fills said volcano with concrete.

That my friends is why people don't tell you what its really like.

Luckily I am smack bang in the middle of this crazy arse adventure and MR Amnesia is yet to "come-a-collectin"... so before I forget, I am going to share with you some newborn "true-ism's". You might want to make yourself a cup of tea (heck, pour yourself a wine) and let me shine a big "ol" torch under that volcano.

I dont know about you but I LOVVVVVVEEEE SLEEP! I mean I could marry my bed. I'd chose a good ol nanna nap over sex any day of the week! Pre baby I was known to sleep in on the weekend until the PM on a regular basis. After my little bundle of joy came into the world he was a hungry little beast eating every 2 hours day and night! Those first 2 weeks were a blur of feeding, burping, spewing, changing nappies and crying. The precious moments in between feeds were taking up with caring for myself, showering, changing maternity pads and breast pads, a quick lie down on the bed staring into space waiting for the whimpering wahhhhhhhhhh wahhhhhhhh to start the regime all over again. I know this time is different for everyone, some people have babies who also love sleep... (DAM THEM!!). My bubs is now 9 weeks old this week and is slowly learning to enjoy longer naps, the longest sleep he has had so far was 6 hours (this has happened once) and whilst it sounds like bliss I kept waking to check he was still breathing and had to deal with my explosive breasts leaking all over the place. For new mums still in the newborn faze not coping with the sleep depravation my advice is this... every week gets easier, keep on "milk trucking", you're doing a great job!


I was determined pre baby to keep my house noisy. I didn't want one of those babies where a pin drops and the baby wakes up screaming. I was determined to keep the TV up, radio going, vacuum roaring and pots and pans clanging! Most of the time I have managed to continue my household racket and luckily my baby seems to find comfort in the noises knowing I am still somewhere close by. However..... There have been moments of DESPERATION,,, when I needed sleep so bad I was near making a deal with the devil to get some shut eye. In the wee wee hours of the morn (on more than one occasion) my "noisy determination" and dignity was thrown out the window as I sat next to his bed patting, humming and shoving the dummy back in his mouth over and over again to finally see those sweet little eyes close. Then I slowly crawled... yes CRAWLED on all 4's out of his room to avoid even making the floorboards under his soft new carpet squeak to ensure he didn't wake up. Not only was I crawling, I was crawling with no top on after a mammoth feeding session. This little man had me well and truly wrapped around his little finger.

My breasts no longer feel like my own! Apart from the stretch marks and constant suckling around the clock its the very tricky "whipping them out" in public places that I struggle with. Don't get me wrong, I am no prude and I am super grateful that our Aussie society is in general largely accepting of this practice nowadays, but I still find it a little uncomfortable. I was speaking to a friend recently who travelled to france with her 4 week old (some 20 years back mind you) and she was "LITERALLY!" spat on (or at) in the street for feeding in public!! At that time french hospitals routinely would dose women up on meds to stop the milk supply straight after birth. French "a la tits" were for "a la sexy times" ONLY. I am SUPER glad we don't have to deal with this sort of hostile response, but I still find the whole process quite challenging. First of all your baby is hungry, often to the point of screaming and flailing around like a half-cut seagull by the time you find a quiet cafe nook or park bench to feed your hungry sucker. Next ensue's this uncomfortable dance were you attempt to get your boob out without exposing yourself to every Tom, Dick and Harry ("nope nothing to see here... move along, nope I am not half undressing in public... yes my baby is screaming, thank you for staring, please now avert your eyes!"). Its not just the feeding in public that I find tricky, I also find it sometimes uncomfortable feeding in front of various family members. I don't know about you but pre-baby my husband was the only one privy to those "fiery biscuits". I am sure its not just me that finds it confronting, I'd like to think some of the family members also feel appropriately challenged by the situation. 

In short... welllll NO. I am sure this is different for everyone, and at 9 weeks since my birth I do feel like my vagina and bumhole are appropriately back in the right position. But I do recall in those first few weeks thinking "I am ruined!" I will never be the same again! Initially the post birth pain leaves you inching in and out of your seat, popping panedeine forte's round the clock and walking like a demented crab. Shower's, ice packs, heat packs, hot towels out of the dryer (pain killer's, pain killer's PAIN KILLER'S) Sleep (when you can), don't lift anything too heavy and change pads often. Again this topic seems to be one that barely anybody discusses with you before having a baby. "If you are yet to travel down this crazy path, did you know you can bleed for up to a month after giving birth?"
I thought that would be a "NIGHTMARE!" but in reality it wasn't that bad (I guess you have a lot of distractions...). Again I am just writing from my personal experience and all of the above varies greatly from person to person. Nine weeks on my bits feel fine... not the same, but fine and hopefully they will return to semi normal... until the next bub at least :)

Just throwing it out there... BUT, I HATE ADVICE! Nurses, doctors, parents, family members and friends! BE WARNED! What I want is a listening ear, a babysitter, a shoulder to cry on, a cup of tea made, my house cleaned... Actually I could go on all day with this list... ha ha ha! But what I DON'T WANT IS YOUR ADVICE! If I want to know something I'll ask for it (actually that is a lie "I'll Google it"). Number 1-(If you have had children) You had your turn... its my turn, things have changed, the world is different, please just enjoy the cuddle time and leave me be. Number 2- (If you don't have children...) "Then GET FARKED!"............
hmmm, that is all I have to say on that topic.

At your 6 week check up your GP will ask you "Have you resumed Normal Sexual relations?"
WTF! First of all, What is classified as "NORMAL" sexual relations? (is there a booklet and checklist for this?). Second of all... My fanny just got ripped open, it was a gapping bleeding wound for the first 4 weeks and even if I had wanted to attempt some sexy time in the last 2 since the bleeding stopped I am not sure when I was supposed to "schedule that in??".  In saying that, at nine weeks I have jumped back on that bicycle and the relevant parts worked....ANNNNDDDDD,,,,, that is all I have to say on that topic.

Baby brain really is a REAL thing. First of all sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture... and now I can understand why. It can make you do (and for that matter SEE) some pretty weird things! I am not sure if it was a combination of the Endone (morphine pain medication I was on post birth) as well as the sleep dep, but twice in the first week I swiped my hand on the bed in front of me whilst feeding trying to "Shoo" away bugs.... that weren't there. Yep, I was literally seeing things!
Baby brain is not just privy to the mumma's of the world, the daddy's experience moments too. I recently watched my husband struggling to put the capsule into the car and when I bent down to look in the window to see why it wasn't working I realised he was putting it in back-to-front. Even though he had put the carseat in multiple times before, bub's was facing the front instead of the back (and the look on bubba's face was also one of confusion as to why he was being so jostled about). 
Maintaining one train of thought during a conversation can also be VERY tricky. I feel more relaxed about this with people who are parents as they tend to kindly remind you what you were talking about after being interrupted 12 times a minute by your little bubba. But when it comes to talking with friends without children I tense up, my brain is saying... "Maintain the train of thought!", "Finish the sentence", "Don't just talk about the baby", "Ask them questions about their life...", "Remember their new boyfriends name"........ Ugh screw it, Just gunna hang out with other mum's!

Pre baby I thought this phrase referred to situations such as purchasing music festival tickets only to have your favourite band cancel... or getting a cold before going on holidays. I had never heard of this "Let Down" term in reference to boobs before. The "Let Down" definition is the "accelerated movement of milk into the mammary glands of lactating mammals upon stimulation by massage or sucking" 
This sensation is different for everyone and can be an enjoyable or very uncomfortable experience depending on how your body reacts. Who knew that when the milk gets started it sprays all over the place!! Yep if your babies mouth isn't sucking that milky juice down (or if he/she pulls away for a breather or to look around) you risk spraying the babies face, surrounding furniture or nearby people! (as I write this I look down at my smudged laptop screen and milk sprayed keyboard... classy). I recently sprayed an unsuspecting young woman at a friends baby shower event. This woman who has yet to have any children of her own and was slightly shocked/horrified (as was I). Spraying the general public with my bodily juices was definitely not a planned event.

If you are about to embark on this parenthood journey then get ready to deal with lots of poo's and wee's! Not just at nappy change time, also explosive "up the back poo's", spraying on you at bath-time wee's or covering your outfit when you finally got dressed moments. At the start I thought it was almost fun changing nappies, unbundling your little precious cargo and checking out the tiny colourful explosions that were waiting inside the nappy. But as they get bigger... so does the poo AND THE SMELLS! I have had 2 gag moments so far when a fresh hot steamy nappy has caught me in the back of my throat and I had to pull away for a moment for some fresh air. I was recently changing bubba at a shopping centre change room when a lady entered with her two children, one looked about 3 and the smaller one maybe 9 or 10 months. I could smell the smaller one as soon as she entered the room and as she started changing him on the change table next to me I had to use all my might not to vomit as she pulled off his pants and revealed what looked like an adult sized giant bog down his trouser leg. The trousers could not be saved, she had to throw them in the bin and then proceeded to use up nearly an entire packet of baby wipes to clean the child up. As she was leaving the room in a cloud of hot stench her 3 year old was shouting "Why does he have no pants on? MUM!! MAARRRMM Where are his pants??" the mother was embarrassingly shooshing her daughter "Shhhh, Shhhssshhh, we need to go to the shops to buy some more pants" the little girl continued loudly "But what was wrong with his old ones MUM?? Where are the other pants MARRRMM??". I glanced down at my quiet smiling baby who seemed unawares to the stenchy air and thought ahhhh what I have to look forward to.... those little mustard coloured (milky diet only) nappies had never looked or smelt so good!

I doubt it. Sure the sleeping will get longer, the baby will learn to be toilet trained, my stitches will heal and my bits will stop aching. My breasts will stop being sucked on or tugged out in public and I might get a nookie session once or twice a month. But life as I knew it will NEVER be the same. First of all, I am a mum! Even the terminology seems surreal, it still doesn't compute... and as I am about to experience my very first mothers day tomorrow that will never change now for as long as I live. I am glad life has changed, I am excited about the future and for all the pain and sleepless nights I am keen to do it again a few times over if my body and husband allows. Sure parenthood is not every bodies cup of tea, I get that, I respect that, if you have NEVER wanted kids and can't stand the idea of having them, then for their sake as well as yours its probably NOT a good idea. But if you are sitting on the proverbial fence thinking its your last chance and you don't want to look back with regrets that you never experienced it then my advice is GET A JIGGY ON A-SAP! 
Things will NEVER be the same and I am loving this crazy journey!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mummy got Fingered...

That's a CHARMING blog title isn't it... Well it certainly captured your attention (But hopefully not your imagination). Today I am going to share with you my day from hell (which I experienced three days ago) and I have to write about before I forget. How could I forget such a "day from hell" you ask?... well because it seems "Amnesia" is the new black in Mummyland.

This story is going to be fairly short, but not so sweet. Why am I sharing it? because when
"thy shit-th hit-th thy fan-th" I survive by seeing the funny side of life and sharing it with you to hopefully make you laugh (therefore turning bad to good! See I am dominating evil one disastrous day at a time!).

Monday started in a hot sweaty daze of confusion (and when I say started... days don't really have a start or end anymore, not when you are up feeding every 2 hours thru the night) its more that.. well... the sun came up. Okay, so when "the sun came up" on monday I felt delusional. More than usual. I had been trying to ignore that my right breast had become increasingly sore since friday night. It was throbbing! The weather was hot and muggy, so I was finding it hard to tell if my excessive sweating/clamminess was due to the outside temperature or something more sinister. I took some painkillers and started to get on with the day.

Baby fed, put in pram awake, make a cup of tea (drink two sips), baby cries, rock baby, put load of washing on, baby cries, move to tummy time, another two sips of tea, load dishwasher, baby cries, move to my bed (he is currently having a sweet love affair with my black and white striped bedhead. They say babies at 2 months develop a preference for black and white or high contrast patterns. I say "whatever keeps him quiet"). Make some breakfast, eat two bites, he is crying, really really crying, he wants food (hmmm, its only been 45 minutes since the last feed?) SCREAMING NOW...righto, you win, more food. So as not to bore you with every other mundane task I did between feeds that day I'll cut to the chase, these 45 minute feeds continued all day. It was relentless, I was couch bound and my throbbing right breast was turning BLUE! This, coupled with a fever, flu like aches and pains, dizziness had me dreading the inevitable... the BIG "M"... yep! I feared it was Mastitis

My mother in law was due over to my house at 3pm to look after bubs as I had a physio appointment, so all I needed to do was to SURVIVE until then. By 2pm I was desperate, he was sobbing and I joined him. I looked into his eyes as we both sobbed loud sobs gulping occasionally for air. We were both hot sticky, sobby messes.

My mother in law arrived just as my little man nodded off to sleep. So typical! Part of me hoped he continued his naughty behaviour for her just to prove that he wasn't an angel all the time (and more to the point, that I wasn't a big sook and hopeless mother). But then another part thought "hmmm we have more chance of more babysitting if he does act like an angel... okay okay I take it back". I explained the scenario and warned her what she might be in for, pointed out the expressed bottles in the fridge, nappies, sick towels and of course trusty trusty Mr Dum Dum. She waved me out with the sleeping angel in her arms "Have Fun!" she said. "FUN?" I was headed to a Pelvic Floor Physio Specialist and then most like to the doctors for an emergency appointment about my explosive throbbing boob... FUN?... I'll try...

I was beeped by a car as I drove to the Physio. I was so tired that I was doing 40kms in an 80kms zone and swaying between 2 lanes... (perhaps babies should come with a sticker like on some medications
"This baby may cause drowsiness and may increase the effects of alcohol. If affected do not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery" it certainly does cause drowsiness and considering the lack of alcohol in my system over the last 11 months "hell yes" it would increase the effects).

Upon arriving at the clinic I was greeted with an 8 page form which I needed to fill out with all my wee's and poo's history. I scribbled my vague thoughts down as my head occasionally dropped sleepily to my chest.  On entering the specialists room she asked me how my day had been... to which of course I burst into tears. Tissues were bought over and a short chat about my disastrous day and possible mastitis ensued before getting down to the real nitty gritty. Forty minutes talking wee's and poo's later and were up the the physical examination. This involved the old lady wearing gloves... oh this day just keeps getting better!!

I didn't expect my first "vaginal" experience after giving birth to be 15 minutes with an old lady poking around my bits and trying to get me to clinch my muscles around her fingers. Again the tears started to roll as she kept trying to getting me to move my pelvic floor muscles over and over (and I was pretty sure all I was moving was my facial muscles! squeezing my face in all different contortions). Clearly my brain had cut ties with the nerve endings to that southern train route. The last loca-motion to service that track crashed and burned and seems to have cut off all future connections. Okay appointment OVER! shell out $125 bucks for that "fun bucket" experience and head off to the crappy bulk billing doctors down the road from my house (where you can usually just walk in off the street and get an urgent appointment anytime). I have a good GP who I see for scheduled appointments, but she is usually booked up 2 weeks in advance, so today was pot luck. I didn't care, I needed drugs and I needed them NOW! The receptionist explained they were booked out... my tears welled and I leaned over the counter and whispered "look, my baby is at home, I think I have... Mastitis... please... if you can do something...". She looked at me with understanding, knowing, motherly eyes, "oh, of course, Ok, take a seat I will squeeze you in", THANK-GOODNESS!.

Eventually my name is called out by an elderly doctor (who looks like he should have retired years ago). Great! its your lucky day buddy! Bet you didn't think you'd be feeling up some tits for afternoon tea. Luckily he turned out to be super sweet, really understanding and not at all the creep I had imagined. Anti-biotics were issued (along with a second tablet that wards off thrush, which is often a side effect of the anti-biotics. Thank-goodness for his forward thinking!). I headed off to the chemist to pick up my supplies.

I returned home to a quiet house (dammit! little angel!!!). But my mother in law was laying on my bed looking weary with my son on her chest. She slowly took her ear phones out of her ears and whispered "little terrorist... he was a little terrorist! I can see he has been giving mummy a hard time". I was flooded with relief! It wasn't just me!!. Although she seemed pretty keen to leave, so perhaps weekly babysitting wasn't looking so appealing??.

When my hubby finally returned home from work, he walked into our room and stroked my weary back, "How was your day my love?"
"Hmmmm, let's see, I was fingered by an old lady... before having my tits felt up by an old man... and that's just the highlights!"
"I see..."
There wasn't much else I could say, or he.
"Are you hungry?" he asked? "I can make some dinner"
"Yes.. yes please and thank-you!!"
that was the best response I could have hoped for.

So that was my day from hell. Of course not everyday is like this. But it was one of the more comical bad days and therefore I felt the need to share. Also just like the birth memories (and the memory of my my pelvic floor muscles) it seems that evolution has created "Amnesia" to ensure its continued survival of the human race. So I make myself write these adventures before I forget... or black them out.

It took me three days to get this story completed, little entries were typed, bit by bit during the wee hour feeds to keep me focused and entertained. We survived! the anti-biotics have kicked in, my hubby took use of the two days of carers leave that the doctor kindly issued, allowing mummy to get some sleep and I have now returned to the land of the living.

Perhaps babies should be issued with this label...

These are the moments you cherish... early morning smiles.
Bub's favourite "Mr Stripey" bedhead in the background (or maybe I should call it "Ms Smiles" with the looks he's giving it!).

 good day to you!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Epic Journey called Birth- PART 3

We arrived home around 10am thursday morning (the 20th of February 2014). After a night of no sleep and constant contractions. Andee and I were both ready for bed (Lucky for some... who could still get some sleep!). Andee and I hopped into separate beds, I claimed our bed and Andee headed to the futon (as much as I wanted him by my side during the contractions I knew he needed to get some sleep to make sure he could help me when the going got REALLY tough). As for me getting some sleep HA HA! I love how the midwives and doctors say "you should really try to go home and get some sleep". I am not sure "HOW?" you are supposed to "SLEEP" whilst in labour??

I continued throughout the day to manage the contractions with deep breathing/panting, Panadeine Forte and swapping locations between the bed and the shower. I found the shower was a great source of comfort. The hot water acted as a soother on my back and the gravity of standing helped to assist the progress. My contractions were still quite irregular (but ranged between 2-5minutes for most of the day). Every now and again a really strong one would hit and I would shout out and moan and thrash about and call out to Andee "Can you time this one!! ARE YOU AWAKE? ARE YOU TIMING IT??" By about 4.00pm the pain started to become unbearable, all the pain had moved into my bottom and I could not find any relief during the contractions. It didn't matter how I stood or sat or lay I had to scream... it was time to go!

I shouted to Andee that we needed to go back to the hospital. He was still reluctant at this stage to believe it was "WEAL LABOUR" as the lovely coughing doctor had told us that unless the contractions were exactly 2 minutes apart every time then it is not considered "established labour". That instantly sounded like a pile of rubbish to me as I was pretty sure my body wasn't born with a "timer" to ensure it was "exactly 2 minutes apart! and surely every woman labours differently.

I was in agony trying to find some clothes to cover myself with to get to the car. Andee had disappeared to the toilet and was taking his sweet time,,, I started shouting "Andee we need to go NOW! If you are going to be a couple of minutes then I will need to get back in the shower as its the only way I can cope!!! COME ON!!!". When Andee finally appeared from the toilet he was holding his belly and pulling a face. I started losing it....

Bron: "WHAT? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?" (angry eyes, I am going to murder you face)
Andee: nothing
Bron: What? its not nothing
Andee: I don't want to say
Bron: WHAT...
Andee: Ive got stomach cramps...
Bron: WHAT THE F#$K? (This is where my F-bombs begin and really continue until our darling is born). Let me just take a moment to say... if there was EVER a relevant time in your life to SWEAR LIKE A TROOPER IN BATTLE, ITS IN LABOUR!!! (and I guess in battle...).
Andee: That's why I didn't want to say anything...
(Bronwyn gives piercing death stare, NO WORDS are relevant for the husband right now...)
Bronwyn: We have to go NOW!

I had a contraction on the way up our steps to the car and 3 further contractions in the car on the way to the hospital. My window was wound all the way down for optimum air flow and our race thru the 4.30pm traffic had me screaming out the window when the contractions were in full swing. I wasn't aware of whether we got any strange looks from fellow drivers or passer-by's but I am sure we did. I could not actually sit on the chair (as the pressure and pain in my bottom was too strong) so I was arching my back and had my butt lifted off the seat. As we turned right into the street of the hospital Andee put his foot in it again...

Andee: The contractions are still not every 2 minutes like the doctor said they would be...
Bron: WHAT are you trying to SAY? (woman possessed eyes)
Andee: I just don't want you to get your hopes up, this probably still Isn't REAL labour...
Bron: Andee just SHUT UP! (spitting venom face)
Andee: Well its just..
Andee: I am just trying to..
Bron: ANDEEEEEEEEEEE, STOP TALKING!!!!!!! IF THIS IS NOT REAL F-ING LABOUR,,,then I don't know anything, I just need you to be supportive right now AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
Andee: Do you want me to drop you at the emergency entrance? and I'll go and park the car?

I made my way into the hospital and up the stairs by myself heading as fast as I could toward the birth suites trying not to alarm or hit passerby's as I did. By the time I made it to the reception desk of the birth suites I couldn't hold it together any longer. 16.5 hours of labour, no sleep, no food and only Panadeine Forte for pain relief had done me in.
My butt felt like it was going to explode, a watermelon was pushing its way down and was going to split me in two. It felt as though the skin between my vagina and anus was literally going to be torn apart by the slow force of a watermelon.

Nurse: You must be Bronwyn? your husband rang ahead to say you were on your way.
Bron: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
Nurse: We will just take you thru to a room and examine where you are at
Bron: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! NNNOOOOOO!!!! AH! AH! AH! I need an EPIDURAL NOW!
Nurse: Okay, lets just check you over, so what time did you start having..
Nurse: Okay, let's try to get you on the bed and have a look..
Nurse: Okay perhaps we should just skip that and give you the gas to try out?

(Nurse quickly hooked up the gas and passed it over to me as Andee arrived from parking the car)

Bron: How do you use this thinggggg! AHHHHH!!

Andee happily gave me a demonstration of how to use the gas and I quickly learnt how to continually breathe in and out of the device thru the entire contraction. I was amazed that whilst the contraction lasted I could not feel any effect from the gas at all (although it was definitely working). But the moment the contraction slowed I could suddenly taste the gas which made me gag and the effects of the "happy gas" would start to take hold (tingles in my feet, cold sensation in my body, sound would dull and my head would start to drift into another world). As much as I wanted to drift into that "other world" the taste of the gas would make me too sick (how unfair!!). However I didn't have to wait long until the next contraction, to me it felt like 10 seconds in between each time now (perhaps it was longer,,, but in my memory it felt like it was only a few breathes of normal air in between the agony now). As I got the hang of the gas and could just cope surviving thru each contraction ("surviving" being the optimal word here as I was still yelling and thrashing about like a mad woman). The midwife was finally able to examine me and thankfully announce I was 6 cms and the baby wasn't far away!! THANK-HEAVENS!! Even though with every minute the pain became more unbearable I knew now "the end was nigh!!!" (and had a smug moment of satisfaction inside, underneath all the layers of unbearable pain! that I WAS IN "WEAL LABOUR!! take that DOCTOR COUGH FACE, MIDWIFE WITCH-COW-BITCH and my UN-BELIEVER HUSBAND"). 

My world became divided into two spheres, one was just completely crazy, I was a mad woman, "Insane in the Membrane", thrashing and yelping, ripping off my clothes, moaning, rocking, sighing, drooling and swearing. There was NO DIGNITY, there was not one ounce of care for who walked in the room or for what was dripping out of where (and to tell you the truth not really any concept of who "was in the actual room" and "what WAS dripping out of where" anyway).

The second part of my world was still me, it was a fleeting continual dialogue in my head of "my thoughts" and anyone who knows me well, knows this dialogue has a pretty wicked sense of humour. So although I couldn't covey my thoughts to anyone else at the time I was thinking some pretty funny things. For instance I could tell that my actions (had they not been combined with excruciating pain) were  FRIGGIN HILARIOUS! I wished I had someone taking video footage of my facial expressions as I sat perched on the edge of the hospital bed, half standing to alleviate the pain in my bum and sucking on that gas with all my might! With each breath of gas I would start with my chin to my chest and then I'd throw my head back to the ceiling sucking with all my might (like I'd somehow be able to fit more gas into my lungs with such a huge effort of motion). Each time I reached the furthest flung back position (and I guess the highest point of the gas's full effect) my eyes would fix on some kind of device on the hospital ceiling (perhaps an alarm? or a fire sprinkler?). This ceiling device had a number or something on it and my eyes would fixate on this same point with each thrust back. I could tell I looked insane...
I also had a running commentary in my head about the people coming and going. All of these exact thoughts are a blur now, but I know at the time I was judging every doctor and midwife on how bloody slow they were, or stupid, or ugly, or dumb! (or all of the above) lucky for them I was sucking too hard on the gas to be able to actually abuse them verbally. Also I knew these people were the key to getting more drugs... so perhaps attacking them verbally (or possibly physically) was not in my best interest.

So I had mastered the gas, we knew we were in "WEAL LABOUR" and I was waiting for my epidural. The midwives kept saying to me "the anaesthetist is on her way, she is just caught up at the moment... she shouldn't be long, but if this baby comes in the meantime we will handle it just fine".
It occurred to me that this was like every episode of "One Born Every Minute" where the bloody anaesthetist is always "caught up" and takes flaming forever to arrive!! I felt like it was a conspiracy, they didn't want to give me the drugs... maybe they were trying to "save money" or they just wanted to see if I would push it out without the epidural in the meantime... or maybe they enjoyed watching people in pain?? I wanted to kill someone, I wanted to kill myself!

Around this time I started to notice my voice had become reeeeeaaaaalllly SLLLOOOOOOWWWW
and reaaaallllyyyyy DEEP! This was due to the "not-so-happy-gas" (imagine the opposite effect of helium). I sounded like a stoned Darth Vadar, an ANGRY stoned Darth Vadar, Darth Vadar NEEDED DRUGS NOOOOWWWW!! The gas was not cutting the mustard, I was loosing my patience with waiting for the epidural, I wanted to kick people with my mind powers... I ripped the gas out of my mouth and shouted!!

Bronwyn: (cue slow-mo angry stoned Darth Vadar voice)
"Wherrrrrrreeeee's thhheeee Faaarrrrrrkkkiiing Anaesthetist??"
Nurse: oh dear, sorry I will go and check for you again
Bronwyn: (starts sucking back on the gas straight away)

Before I could get the epidural they needed to insert a cannula into my hand for a drip. Unfortunately I was extremely dehydrated and it was making it very difficult for them to find a vein. Two midwives and one doctor later (each making 3 attempts) left me with bleedy hands and again NO patience or decorum, I ripped the PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS GAS out of my mouth momentarily to shout at the doctor...

Bronwyn: (cue slow-mo angry stoned Darth Vadar voice)
Doctor: Oh, sorry dear, looks like we will have to leave it and ask the anaesthetist to put it in for us
Bronwyn: (I was thinking hmmm, really perhaps after the 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th attempt you could have decided that!! but no let's torture this woman a bit more... lets go for 9 attempts to shove a plastic tube into the non existent veins in her hand before deciding to let the "REAL PROFESSIONAL" handle it!

FINALLY! the GOD-DAM ANAESTHETIST enters the room! she floats in looking like a super model, wearing super fitted jeans, heels, a fancy smancy blouse and flawless make-up. She stops to flick back her bouncy smouncy ive-recently-been-blow-dried-hair (I shit you not, I am being serious, this is not an illusion, she was all styled up like Dr Grey off Grey's Anatomy... or Nina Proudman from Offspring). No wonder we had to wait 3 hours for her to arrive! she was shooting a GOD-DAM TV SHOW!

Luckily she was super efficient, cannula in the hand first go, giant scary needle prepared, forms signed, hunched over in the stay-as-still-as-possible-even-if-your-having-a-contraction-position-otherwise-you-could-become-a-paraplegic. I always envisioned getting a giant needle in your spine would be ridiculously scary and painful... but honestly I had no time to be scared, what could possibly be scarier than right now! I hardly felt the needle at all, it literally felt like someone flicked my back with their finger, there was a little bit of pressure and it was done. Ahhhh, finally now surely the pain would just fall away and I could have a break, a deep breathe, a moment or two of peace before the pushing began... Why wasnt the pain stopping? waahhhhhh I starting sucking down hard on the gas again with all my might. One of the midwives tried to pry the gas away from me...

Nurse: Okay, youve had the epidural now, so its time to put the gas down
Bronwyn: No, Noooooo, No, No, No, don't, you can't take it away from me (shaking my head like a homeless crazy woman being pried away from her "plastic bag trolley"). 

After this point Andee tells me we were left alone in the room for most of the final hour. To me it felt like about 3 minutes... I just continued to suck down on that gas and thrash about in agony. I don't have much memory of this time,,, all I know is it was hell, it felt like being tortured to death over and over and over and never being allowed to die. Right towards the end bub's heart-rate dropped right down really low and Andee called out to one of the midwives to come and check. The midwife came in calmy, fiddled around with the fetal heart monitor and then hit the "EMERGENCY" button. The room was suddenly filled with people, they were shouting at me to move onto my side and then onto my back. I could hear them say "okay we need to get this baby out NOW!", next thing I know my legs were up in stirrups and a doctor was talking about maybe requiring either forceps or the vacuum. I shouted "Vacuum!" as I had heard a few horror stories about the forceps. They started asking me to push, I had no idea if I was actually pushing or just filling my cheeks of with air and holding my breath?? But literally 5 pushes later and our little man arrived. All the pain stopped instantly, the chaos turned to calm, I was floating in a surreal bubble. They placed our little man onto my belly and Andee tells me he cut the cord (although I don't remember it at all) and then he was bought up to my chest. I didn't know what to think, I couldn't take my eyes off this little squirmy bundle, who are you? hello little stranger... are you really mine? How is it possible? Andee and I hugged and kissed, I thought I would be teary but I wasn't at all... I think I was just SOOOOOOO relieved!! It was OVER! he was here safely and the floor had returned back on the ground, the ceiling back in the air I HAD SURVIVED!!

Meanwhile the midwives are doctors were busy down in the nether-regions (although honestly I don't remember a thing). This is where I was grateful that I had had the epidural as a few friends had described the placenta birth and stitches as being quite painful. I don't remember a thing, I didn't even see anything going on, I was just transfixed on our sweet little warm bundle of life. Andee made the phone calls to my folks, his dad and his mum. I could see Andee getting choked up over the phone as he shared our most exciting news. This little man was the first grand-child on both sides of the family and was such a source of joy, excitement and possibility of endless new memories and adventures yet to be made.

After the phone calls were made and the doctors and nurses finished up the nasty nether-region business. I was struck by something... I WAS SOOOOO DAM HUNGRY!! and of all things I was craving a glass of wine (possibly a bottle) I remember saying out aloud "I could SERIOUSLY murder a glass of shiraz!!" (after I said this I did think these nurses are going to think I am an alcoholic! ha ha). Unfortunately by this stage of the night dinner was well and truly past, so the nurse went hunting around for food. She returned with a cold salad and chicken plate, which I DEVOURED like a ravenous wolf... which relevantly brings me to our sons name "Wolfe" (pronounced Wolf-fee) or perhaps when he is older it will just be Wolf with a silent "E".

Wolfe Forrest Napiorkowski had arrived, the world was his oyster (or perhaps his Wolf den). He was perfect and soft and tiny. He smelt of that lush baby smell. His eyes were wide open, exploring this vast and bright new world. He didn't really cry and when he did they were more like puppy squeaks.

As I sit here typing up the end of "The Epic Journey called Birth- PART 3", I have just realised that today is exactly 4 weeks since Wolfe was born. I have tried to steal free moments during feeds in the middle of the night or short breaks whilst he has been asleep during the day to type up my story. Friends had explained to me prior to the birth that the memory of the birth is so fleeting (which could not be more true!). Perhaps this is nature's way to ensure the human race is preserved... to ensure we go back for more. Straight after giving birth I remember saying "next time MUST be an elective caesarean", the next day I thought "If I had the epidural earlier, and if I didn't have haemorrhoids at the time I could cope" and now four weeks on........................................ "bring it on! I survived once" (I am a slow learner and a sucker for punishment).

The memory of the birth now is surreal, it is now so blurred in my mind that I sometimes had to ask Andee questions whilst writing this story! I really wanted to capture as best I could my exact feelings and thoughts during this experience. But it really is indescribable... and every person's experience is going to be so different (and probably each subsequent birth will also be so different). I think I coped knowing that I would survive, millions of women had done it before, it would eventually be over (after possibly a few days of hell) and that in the end I would receive the most precious gift (and best of all...I even got to take him home! and keep him!!!)

Hilarious facial expression!!! This is the money shot! 
Bub's head was already out and the body was on its way. I had to share as my face says it all!
The calm after the storm
 Proud dad's first hold
Wolfe Forrest Napiorkowski
50 CM 
Born at 8.16pm on the 20.02.2014

and so a new journey begins, a journey called motherhood...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Epic Journey called Birth- PART 2 (YOU HAVE TO STAY!...and...NOW YOU HAVE TO GO!)

After arriving calmly and pain-free (at this stage) to the hospital they confirmed some waters had gone and they just needed to place me on the Fetal Heart Monitor for 20 minutes (as shown on the photo below) and check all my vitals (blood pressure, temp etc) and then we should be right to head home again.

Unfortunately my blood pressure was super high and we were advised that we needed to stay put to be monitored. Initially it was "just for half an hour then you can go home"... "hmmmm, it is still very high, we will just keep you another hour"... "hmmmm, Ive checked with the doctor, its still too high to send you home, we will keep you another hour".

In the meantime my contractions started!!

Me sporting the very fashionable "Fetal Heart Monitor" belt
(grainy fuzzy photo taken on Andee's phone, due to our good camera being AT HOME! DAMMIT!)

To keep my nerves under control and to stay focussed I had Andee writing down the contraction times on the little white board on the wall. The contractions were very irregular, 7 minutes, 4 minutes, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 10 minutes, 4 minutes. As each hour ticked by we kept contemplating whether Andee should try to race home and get our bags (or whether the hospital would be sending us home and it would be a waste of time?). Eventually the sun started to rise, my contractions were around 4 minutes apart (although still irregular) and the pains were getting stronger. I was still able to breathe deeply, pant and moan thru them (and had only taken some Panadeine Forte to take the edge off).

In the early hours of the morning a young asian male doctor came in to examine me. Had I not been in labour his lack of English and strange quirks would have seemed more like something from faulty towers and less like a trainee doctor in the burbs with a lack of experience and bedside manner. He started off by trying to explain how he was going to examine me with the plastic speculum to see how far I was dilated. However he kept getting his English muddled up and would look at the midwife when stuck for the relevant word. He also kept coughing heavily into the crook of his arm (charming!) I just kept thinking, please don't cough directly into my vagina upon inspection. Below is a brief script of some of the funnier CHING-GLISH moments of our conversation.

Doctor: Okay, we want to examine you to see how far you are along, then we probably twy to send you home to labour. (COUGH, COUGH, COUGH). Your contraction still very irregular, this not WEAL LABOUR yet... just weee-member your body,, it never done'd this before, it just getting weady. Okay, so this is NOT WEAL LABOUR, Okay... (COUGH, COUGH, COUGH)

Bron (thoughts in head only, not spoken aloud): Even if this is NOT "REAL LABOUR" could you bloody STOP SAYING THAT!! FFS! It is obviously the "start" of my labour, we perhaps don't need to continually point out how flippin far I have to go!!!

Doctor: Okay, we going to inspect you...because there is a hole in the baby...OH NO, NO NO sorry there is not hole in the baby, the hole in the membrane from waters leaking. So we check how far you are progressed now, OKAY? (COUGH, COUGH, COUGH)

Bron (thoughts in head only, not spoken aloud): Oh god,,, he is going to cough directly into my vagina...

Doctor: we can only use the plastic speculum because it is sterile, we cant use the finger because it is dirty... oh, no no, not that we just use a finger,,, I mean it would have a glove on... just it is dirty.
I mean it is a clean glove, but just not sterile. (COUGH, COUGH, COUGH)

Bron (thoughts in head only, not spoken aloud): Is this guy for real? (sneaks a look at Andee, exchange WTF face, without being rude or giving our thoughts away).

Doctor:  Okay we do the speculum now

Bron-Shouts out loud in discomfort and pain as plastic tongs are shoved in, opened out and the doctor and nurse have a look and poke around.

Nurse: 2-3 CMS?? (looks at Doctor for confirmation and agreement)

Doctor: (nods at nurse, removes speculum and gloves) Okay, so as we thought this just the very start, Your contraction still very irregular, this not WEAL LABOUR yet... just weee-member your body,, it never done'd this before, it just getting weady. Okay, so this is NOT WEAL LABOUR, Okay... (COUGH, COUGH, COUGH) So soon we going to send you home, better to labour at home, OKAY?? These things can take some long time, so better at home...

Bron (thoughts in head only, not spoken aloud): We have been wanting to go HOME SINCE WE DAM WELL GOT HERE!! you guys are the ones that have told us to stay!! and now its really starting to hurt and I am 2-3 cms and NOW you want me to go home?? 

Doctor: We just monitor for a little while more and then we send you home, OKAY???

Doctor and Nurse leave room speaking in hushed tones

Bron and Andee exchange exaggerated rolled eyes, no words are even relevant for the ridiculousness that had just ensued... EXCEPT...

Andee: Did he say because there is a hole in the baby?? 

Giggles ensue as another contraction starts up...

Ha Ha Ha! I am still smiling... for now...

Eventually the sun rises, on Thursday the 20th of February 2014. We have still not been "sent home" despite being told repeatedly, by multiple different people that we will be going soon and that we should be at home (THANKS, THEN LET US GO!). Andee decides to make the move to race home and grab our bags and we ask the midwife on duty to come and sit with me in the meantime (as the contractions are coming once every 4 minutes and its really not nice being alone when they hit. 
Of course 15 minutes after Andee leaves the doctor gives me the "ALL CLEAR" to finally GO HOME!! Plus the nice midwife who has been sitting with me and helping me to breathe thru the contractions announces her shift is finished and does a hand over with another midwife (who turns out to be one part WITCH, one part COW and two parts BITCH). 

"Witch-Cow-Bitch" or "WCB" for short announces its time for me to go home, our conversation goes something along the lines below

WCB: Hi, I am WCB, I am taking over the shift this morning. You are still in the early stages of labour so we are going to send you home now to progress further, how do you feel about that?

Me: I feel a bit scared actually,,, the contractions are getting more intense, I kind of want to stay here now...

WCB: Righhhttt... So what are you scared of? Is there a "Problem" at home??

Me: ummm, no, I am just in labour for the first time and a little apprehensive that's all...

WCB: Is this because you have an anxiety problem? I saw you're on some medication...

Me: No... its nothing to do with that.

WCB: Perhaps you should be on more medication??

Me: (mouth open, did she really just say that?) No, I shouldn't, its nothing to do with that! Look my husband is still not back yet from going home to get our bags so I can't go now anyway 
(Another contraction starts) 

WCB: How about you hop in the shower a lot of women find that helps with the pain and we can discuss it again when your husband returns...

(After a shower I return to the room where I find all our bags packed, cups taken away and bed stripped of the blankets and sheets). Andee has returned and the WCB has informed him in my absence that I am a high risk patient for Post Natal Depression! (seriously! I am in labour for the first time, give us a break! How about my husband's ANXIETY LEVELS! I am sure he is pretty stressed right now about his wife giving birth for the first time, about the health of the baby, about whether her vagina will ever be the same again, about how we will both cope with the sleepless nights in the weeks ahead. Perhaps he doesn't also need to be told that his wife could also suffer from major depression after giving birth AS WELL!!

Finally we agree, yes we will go home, FINE! We understand there could be many more hours to follow! YES, we heard this is "early labour" not WEAL LABOUR! Right let's get out of here!

But before we could go...

We are told that we need to spend another 20 minutes on the Fetal Heart Monitor!

WHAT?? When we first got here all we wanted to do was leave (and were required to stay for hours on end) now the contractions are 4 minutes apart and the pain is getting bad and you want us to leave. Now we finally agree to leave and you need us to stay some more?

Eventually we make it home! With one sleepless night behind us and the unknown territory or "WEAL LABOUR" stretching out ahead...

To be continued IN The Epic Journey called Birth- PART 3 (haemorrhoids, stitches and THE "F" WORD)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The epic Journey called Birth- PART 1 (Show... or no Show?)

I think its starting to happen... It is 6.16am in the morning (2 weeks before my due date) and Ive just had my second "show" (I had one yesterday morning also) and no this was not a SHOW with songs and dancing and applause (to my dismay not even a costume change!). It was more a sleepy stumble to the loo, wee, wipe,,, hang on... what? something stringy is kinda attached... oh lovely I have just given birth to part of a jellyfish. You know the clear kind you see washed up on the beach... bet your never going to look at those the same again! and when you do please think of me (it may be 6 months or a year from now, you're on holidays, strolling along the beach, salty breeze in your hair, sun on your back, ughhh watch out, dont step on it, its a glob of clear goo, its a jellyfish,,, Naaaah! its just somebody's "Mucus Plug". What a charming combination of words. Couldn't they call it something less resembling snotty gunk and something more exciting like, the "baby doorway" or  the"welcome goo" or "its-almost-showtime-yay-you-are-going-to-get-your-body-back-no-more-peeing-20-times-a-night-and-pins-and needles-in-the-ribs-Thank-CHRIST-please-let-the-labour-be-fast-and-not-kill-me" hmmm.... okay so granted that last one is a bit long... let's stick with "Welcome Goo".

So it was the second morning in a row I had experienced the "Welcome Goo" and I was starting to get excited! I began to experience what felt like period pain. It was easy to handle just laying on my side with a hot wheat pack (as you would with day 1 period aches). My hubby (Andee) headed off to work as usual (his work is an hour by train into Melbourne docklands) so we were fairly safe that even if things started to really happen that a speedy but expensive cab ride could probably return him to me in 40 minutes. This being said I started to get a little scared after he left and rang him a bit teary when he was on the train "I am by myself, I am a bit scared... what if the pain suddenly gets really bad? what if I need someone's help?" (Andee managed to convince me that we have darling neighbours close by if I urgently needed someone and an ambulance call was just minutes away if shit really hit the fan). I gave in and agreed, I knew he was right... I knew it was probably going to take another day to really get things going... but still I was scared, I wanted someone to talk to, to stroke my head, to tell me everything was going to be okay.

After 2 hours of period like pain I managed to fall back asleep and when I woke up 2 hours later everything had stopped again. I was disappointed... I wanted to get this SHOW on the road! To keep me distracted my darling friend Linda dropped around with coffee and muffins (YUM!). Linda is also pregnant (2 months behind me) so we poured over every detail of the "Welcome Goo"and what the pains felt like so far and speculating on what was going to happen next??

  Me getting bored on the fit ball...nose pick shot!

With the pains subsided Linda and I headed out for lunch and a little walk around a few shops. It filled in some time and kept me distracted from the anxiety of what was to follow. By the evening no more pain had returned so I text 2 of my lovely neighbours to confirm that Canasta five cards night was still on at my house at 8.30pm. This was a fairly new hobby of ours that we had started about a month prior and we had been meeting once a week for a late evening game of cards. The girls had joked the week before "How funny would it be if you went into labour whilst we were playing cards........"

Hmmmm perhaps we were predicting the future because...

The girls arrived at 8.30pm, I had the dining table all set up ready to play and had replaced my chair with one of those bouncy "fit balls" to try to bring things on. I was just starting to feel some little twinges again and was feeling quite excited. We played a few rounds sipping on peppermint tea and munching on peppermint Aero chocolate (YUM!). I mentioned to the girls that I had requested Andee pick me up some raspberry leaf tea on the way home but he couldn't find any (its suggested raspberry tea can help bring on labour). This sparked Emma (one of my neighbours) memory, she had raspberry leaf tea and a little box of essential oils to help bring on labour (that she herself had used just a year and a half earlier with her darling little girl Scarlett) So she headed out into the pitch black night, up my EPIC steep driveway to retrieve them and see if we couldn't get this SHOW on the road!
With the tea made the girls were encouraging me to gulp it down in between bouncing on the fit ball and rubbing Clary Sage oil on my belly (oh and concentrating on a serious game of cards too, of course!). At about 10.30pm I hopped up to go to the toilet and felt a hot rush of water down below. I stopped, held my hand on my crotch and looked at the girls wide eyed. Shouts, hoots and yelps followed with excitement!!! IT WAS HAPPENING!!!

So what did we do?...

Continued playing cards OF COURSE!

I would gulp some tea, play my hand and then the girls would make me pace the room as they played their hands. More hot waters followed and some slight twinges and tightenings started to happen. I text my hubby Andee (who was out at his folks place) to say my waters had gone and to check when he was getting home. Andee arrived home at about 12.30am in the morning and was in dis-belief "Are you sure it was really your waters? Its two weeks before your due date? there is only a 1. 5% chance of giving birth 2 weeks early in your first pregnancy, I googled it on my way home" (of course he googled it! ha ha ha) "Yes I am sure, do you think I just accidentally pee'd myself and I am just getting my wee hole and vagina hole confused?"(I think he did think that was a viable possibility! HA HA HA).

Cards, tea and essential oils all helped to get the "Show" on the road!

The girls placed bets on bubs arrival time and departed just before 1am, wishing us a speedy and not too traumatic birth experience. Andee started running me a bath and I rang the hospital to give them an update. You are advised to contact the hospital as soon as your waters break or if your labour is progressing (I guess so they have an idea on who they are likely to expect in the coming hours). I was hoping they would just let me stay home to enjoy my super early morning bath, but alas non. We were advised to make our way to the hospital asap, they needed to check if the waters had really gone. If the waters had gone and everything else was normal, we would be sent home again (just given a timeline for induction if the birth had not progressed after 72 hours). The reason behind this is that the bag of waters acts as a defence barrier to infection and once this is broken that defence is compromised.

So we headed out into the night with just our wallet and phones (no need to take the bags, snacks and camera yet, surely...

BIG MISTAKE!... (to be continued)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Nudey Rudey Take 2-dey

The evening after the baby shower I had a booking for my second life modelling class. I also had to drive across the city (thru peak hour traffic) in the opposite direction first to drop off my mum and sisters at the airport (just prior to the class) and was therefore rushing the whole way. I literally parked the car at the life drawing destination one minute after the class was supposed to start!


Then I was racing up and down the hill trying to find the class location. I rang my hubby to get him to google it, dropped my bag and my water bottle started rolling down the hill and THEN… it started to pour with rain! Whilst on the phone with my hubby a second call came thru from the life drawing organiser who lead me in the right direction (Thank-goodness!).

This Life drawing room was a medium sized hall joined to the back of a church. There were two other halls next to it also being used for classes simultaneously. The other classes were a "Glee club" (singing group) and a Tae Kwon Do class. So I stripped off, got into my first pose, closed my eyes and listened to the comical live soundtrack which was a combination of softly playing classical radio and charcoal scratching paper inside the drawing room mixed with gospel force melodies pumping out from the glee club and "HIIIIII-YA!" shouts and chops from the Tae Kwon Do class. It was comforting to think all these church rooms were being put to good use and not shut up collecting dust.

The students were asked to use different techniques throughout the class. At one point the teacher requested they only used geometric shapes to build up the figure. I was intrigued as to how they would interpret this (as my body was clearly at its most CURVACEOUS!!) but one of my favourite sketches from this class is one of these "geometric" interpretations (see photo below).

In between the longer sittings the class will take short breaks. Usually these allow the students to swap over the paper they are using, change medium (if they want to swap from charcoal to ink, to paint etc) or have a glass of water. These breaks give me the chance to get feeling back into my numb limbs or to rub away pins and needles from hands or feet (which happens quite often especially as I get bigger). I also try to wander around the room and check out people's drawings (taking snapshots if they don't mind) and chatting with people in the class. I do attempt to throw my robe on before weaving in and out of the students (although they have just seen me completely exposed and bathed in very unflattering fluorescent light) it still seems appropriate to be semi clad whilst making eye contact and conversation.

Everybody's drawing style, skill and technique are so different. Its lovely to see how each person has interpreted the same subject...

 soft and sketchy (but using guide lines for proportion) 
 heavily shaded (albeit heavily pregnant... ha ha)

Poses normally range from standing (which I try to do at the start for the shorter 1 or 2 minute time slots). Seated (usually there are a variety of seats around the room and I will tend to place a small towel or piece of clothing between hence and my large posterior) I try to do these for the 5 to 10 minute positions. Then finally the reclining (laying down) positions for the 10 to 20 minute poses. You may think that laying down in the same position sounds easy (like being paid to have a little kip) but let me assure you its not! If you would like to try it out, by all means place a towel on a tiled or concrete floor, set a 20 minute timer, assume a desirable laying pose, now stay deadly still for the whole time. Do not scratch your nose, move your head or arm or even your facial expression for that matter. Also when your arm or foot starts to lose sensation don't change facial expressions (still continue to look calm and serene).
Ive found counting the time to myself helps to keep me distracted from the pain... and deep breathing (perhaps this is good training for giving birth?? ha ha).

Most of these drawing classes finish up around 9.30-10.00pm (and then I have about an hour drive to follow to reach home). Due to my sleep patterns being completely out the window I have found it has been a good distraction to have something to do late at night.
My attempt of a strange "last minute late night hurrah!"
"Yes, I might be 8 months pregnant but I will go out mid week and get my kit off in front of a room of strangers, yes I will!" (before I spend the next 6 months tied to a pooey, screaming, feeding little bundle of joy). "6 months I hear you question? how about 18 years... well hopefully the pooing and screaming will subside well before then... I think I can handle the feeding... ha ha ha".